Empowering India’s 500 million plus mobile users, the country’s telecom regulator has decided to set up an online customer redressal
mechanism, providing a platform for dissatisfied consumers to express their complaints against their service providers.
Put simply, any customer can log on to this web-based system, that will be maintained by Trai, to register complaints, violations or any other grievance against their mobile operator. This independent platform will work on a real-time basis, implying that the operator in question will immediately get the complaint, a top Trai official told ET.
This official also added that this system would enable Trai to monitor if customer grievances were being addressed. “We can then see as to what per cent of customer complaints are addressed,” the Trai official explained.
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Trai is also of the view that despite all operators having directed a three-tier redressal structure, which includes call centres, area-wise nodal officers and appallette authorities, most grievances went unaddressed. Currently, the only other option that a consumer has is to take the operator to court.
Meanwhile, the telecoms regulator will also meet the two telecom industry bodies next week — Cellular Operators Association of India and the Association of Unified Service Providers of India — over a demand by the industry that they be allowed to charge subscribers for calls made to customer care outlets. At present, all calls made to the customer care are free.
“Operators have told us that a significant majority of calls that mobile users make to customer care are for enquiry purposes, and not related to grievances. Since running these call centres and offering customer care involves a huge cost, they want consumers to pay for this service,” the Trai official quoted above said.
ET spoke to mobile service providers, who confirmed that the industry had jointly sought Trai’s approval to charge consumers for calls to the customer care, if they were not related to grievances/complaints.
But Trai officials are divided on the demand by telcos. “We do not have any mechanism to determine if a call to the customer is for a complaint, enquiry or for other purpose. Interpretations can vary. We want to give telcos a hearing on this issue,” another Trai official added.
In another consumer-related move, the Trai is also planning to junk the Do-Not-Call (DNC) registry, as this has failed its purpose of ensuring that telemarketers do not make unsolicited calls or send SMSs to those enlisted in the DNC. Instead, the regulator plans to explore the option of setting up a ‘Do-Call’ registry, where only registered users would be called by telemarketing firms.